At 70 years old, Alfred Molina has this physical status:
Molina appeared with Leonard Rossiter in the sitcom The Losers (1978). He made his film debut with a minor role alongside Harrison Ford in Steven Spielberg's adventure film Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) as Indiana Jones' ill-fated guide, Satipo, during its iconic opening sequence. Molina stated in an interview in 2013 that he owes his stage and film career to the Indiana Jones series. "I'm very, very proud of that, I have to admit I didn't think at the time, 'Oh, this is going to go down in movie history.' I'd never been in front of a camera before," Molina said about his short but memorable appearance in Raiders of the Lost Ark. He recalled getting the job as a "gift from God" and said, "I've publicly thanked Steven many, many times. That job saved my bacon, in more ways than one." About his now-famous line in the film, Molina stated that "I've never had a problem with people coming up to me about it. They'll shout that line to me, 'Throw me the idol, I'll throw you the whip!' I'm delighted that people still remember it."
However, his big break came with Letter to Brezhnev (1985), which he followed with a starring role in Prick Up Your Ears (1987), playing Joe Orton's lover (and eventual murderer) Kenneth Halliwell. He was originally cast as Arnold Rimmer in the TV sitcom Red Dwarf, but was replaced by Chris Barrie.
In the early 1990s, Molina was a ubiquitous presence on British television, with his highest profile role being the lead in the first two series of El C.I.D.. He appeared in the critically acclaimed films such as Mike Newell's costume drama Enchanted April (1992), Richard Donner's western comedy Maverick (1994), and Jim Jarmusch's western Dead Man (1995). Subsequent film roles include the drama Not Without My Daughter (1991), the science fiction horror film Species (1995), the broad comedy Dudley Do-Right (1999). With a midwestern American accent, Molina starred alongside Betty White in the US television series Ladies Man, which ran from 1999–2001. In 1993 he appeared in the BBC miniseries adaptation of A Year in Provence, playing the annoying Tony, along with John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. In 1995, Molina starred with Marisa Tomei in The Perez Family, playing Cuban refugees who pretend to be married so they can more easily stay in America. Marjorie Baumgarten praised Molina as attaining "the right mixture of gentle honor and baffled stupefaction" to portray his character, although Peter Rainer of Los Angeles Times called Molina "so intensely sodden that he’s like a great big scowling dark cloud." Molina has worked twice with Paul Thomas Anderson, first in Boogie Nights (1997) and then in Magnolia (1999).
In 2000, Molina appeared in Lasse Hallström's Chocolat which received critical acclaim and an Academy Award for Best Picture nomination. He gained wide recognition for his portrayal of Diego Rivera alongside Salma Hayek in the biopic Frida (2002), a role for which he gained BAFTA and SAG award nominations. He played himself alongside Steve Coogan in Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) and gained further commercial recognition when he portrayed Johann Tetzel in Luther (2003) and Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man 2 (2004), which became one of the highest-grossing films of that year. For the latter, Molina was nominated for a Satellite Award as Best Supporting Actor. He reprised his role in the video game adaptation. In 2006, Molina portrayed Touchstone in Kenneth Branagh's film version of Shakespeare's As You Like It and appeared in Ron Howard's adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Molina provided the voice of the villain Ares in the 2009 animated film Wonder Woman.
Molina's stage work has included two major Royal National Theatre productions, Tennessee Williams' The Night of the Iguana (as Shannon) and David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow (as Fox). In his Broadway debut, Molina performed in Yasmina Reza's Tony Award-winning play 'Art', for which he received a Tony nomination in 1998. In 2004, Molina returned to the stage, starring as Tevye in the Broadway production of Fiddler on the Roof. For his performance he once again received a Tony Award nomination, this time for Best Actor in a Musical. He received his third Tony Award nomination for Red in 2010, for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play.
In 2007, Molina narrated a 17-part original audiobook for Audible.com called The Chopin Manuscript. This serialized novel was written by a team of 15 best-selling thriller writers, including Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Joseph Finder and Lisa Scottoline. The novel won the 2008 Audiobook of the Year Award form Audio Publishers Association.
On 1 April 2010, Molina opened at Broadway's John Golden Theatre in the role of artist Mark Rothko in John Logan's drama Red opposite Eddie Redmayne for a limited engagement through 27 June. He had played the role to much critical success at the Donmar Warehouse in London in December 2009 and revisited that role at the Wyndham's Theatre in the West End in 2018.
In 2010, Molina starred opposite Dawn French in the six-part BBC sitcom Roger & Val Have Just Got In, with a second series in 2012.
Molina has three Lego Minifigures modelled after him, namely Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man 2, Satipo from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Sheik Amar from Prince of Persia.
In July 2010, it was announced that Molina had joined the cast of Law & Order: LA as Deputy District Attorney Morales. He previously guest-starred in a two-part crossover in 2005 in two other Law & Order franchise shows, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
Molina is a patron of the performing arts group Theatretrain. He is also a longtime member of the Los Angeles theatre company The New American Theatre, formerly known as Circus Theatricals, where he often teaches Shakespeare and Scene Study along with the company's artistic director Jack Stehlin.
In 2017 he portrayed film director Robert Aldrich in Ryan Murphy's FX limited series Feud: Bette & Joan. The series revolved around the filming of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? in 1962 and the relationship between actresses Bette Davis and Joan Crawford played by Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange respectively. Molina received critical praise for the film as well as awards attention received nominations from the Primetime Emmy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards for his performance.
In 2020, Molina appeared in David Oyelowo's drama The Water Man, and Emerald Fennell's black comedy thriller Promising Young Woman. On 8 December 2020 it was announced that he would be returning as Doctor Octopus for Spider-Man: No Way Home in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, set to premiere on 17 December 2021. Molina later confirmed that he would actually be reprising his role as the Spider-Man 2 incarnation of Doctor Octopus in No Way Home, retconning his character's apparent death at the end of the former film. He was digitally de-aged to his 2004 self.
On September 2, 2021, it was announced that Alfred Molina is set to star in Amazon Prime police drama series Three Pines, which comes from The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures. Molina will play as Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, the lead character from Louise Penny’s book series, he also serve as executive producers on the show. The trailer came out in Octobre 2022 and announce the show's premiere in Decembre 2022.